• methods;
  • sampling;
  • observations;
  • behavior;
  • vocalization;
  • Cetacea;
  • ethology;
  • quantitative


Behavioral scientists have developed methods for sampling behavior in order to reduce observational biases and to facilitate comparisons between studies. A review of 74 cetacean behavioral field studies published from 1989 to 1995 in Marine Mammal Science and The Canadian Journal of Zoology suggests that cetacean researchers have not made optimal use of available methodology. The survey revealed that a large proportion of studies did not use reliable sampling methods. Ad libitum sampling was used most often (59%). When anecdotal studies were excluded, 45% of 53 behavioral studies used ad libitum as the predominant method. Other sampling methods were continuous, onezero, incident, point, sequence, or scan sampling. Recommendations for sampling methods are made, depending on identifiability of animals, group sizes, dive durations, and change in group membership.